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Friar News Briefs – May 2020

The updates below describe recent activities of Holy Name Province friars. Many focus on new forms of evangelization created to reach people during this season of separation caused by the pandemic and the need for safe distancing. Several announce recently-released books, articles, and blog posts of friars.

For details about any of the information, email the friars, contact the HNP Communications Office, or visit links to the parishes and organizations mentioned. To provide news for future articles, send an email to communications director Jocelyn Thomas.

From the Administration
During the last month, the Provincial Councilors have met weekly by video conference to discuss important and timely topics. Among their recent decisions, the 2020 Provincial Chapter will be held in Paterson, New Jersey – a location that has historic significance to the Province, along with adequate facilities, a beautiful church, suitable meeting space, and an accessible location by road and airport. A date for the Chapter has yet to be determined. On April 15, the councilors approved the requests of Angel Vázquez, OFM, and Jay Woods, OFM, for permission to profess solemn vows. The date of the celebration is being finalized. Last week, the Councilors approved May 19 as a Province-wide Day of Prayer in Time of Pandemic.

Angel Vázquez renews his simple vows before the guardian, David Blake, OFM, and the friar community at St. Bonaventure University. (Photo courtesy of Ross Chamberland)

► Friars at several Province locations renewed their temporary vows last month. On April 16, in Allegany, New York, Angel Vázquez, OFM, renewed his vows at St. Bonaventure University, where he has lived during his year-long internship in preparation for his solemn profession. On April 26, Jay Woods, OFM, renewed his vows at St Patrick-St. Anthony Parish in Hartford, Connecticut, where he is completing his one-year internship. On April 30, the temporary-professed friars living at St. Joseph Friary in Chicago renewed their vows.

► On May 7, Christopher Van Haight, OFM, and Hugh Macsherry, OFM, of Immaculate Conception Parish in Durham, North Carolina, participated in the National Day of Prayer. As part of an initiative organized by the North Carolina Council of Churches, they – along with parishioners and other faith communities – joined in unity to ring bells as a witness to their belief that the bells will invite worshippers in the future to gather and share their faith in the same space.

► In an effort to answer questions about faith, provide company to the homebound, and have a little old-fashioned fun during a difficult time, Patrick Tuttle, OFM, of St. Anthony of Padua Church and School in Greenville, South Carolina, has created an Internet radio show called “A Pause with Father Patrick.” The broadcast, which goes live at 8:30 p.m. every Thursday night – and some other nights depending on his schedule – can be accessed through YouTube. People can view any of the previously aired shows by clicking on the list of available programs on Patrick’s channel. The first full program was aired Tuesday, April 14. The show has already gained a following, as Patrick has received calls from California, Arizona, New Mexico, Tennessee, Nebraska, Florida, Washington, D.C., New York City, Raleigh, Durham, and Greenville.

► Four friars provided a glimpse of their lives and personalities through a YouTube conversation on April 17. Called “Live Hangout with the Friars,” Juan Turcios, OFM, Roberto Serrano OFM, and Casey Cole, OFM – along with Maxwell Klug, OFM, of Assumption BVM Province – chatted casually on a Friday evening about topics that ranged from cooking and ministerial assignments to getting along with their friar brothers and why they joined the Franciscan Order. The conversation can be found on the Facebook page of Casey Cole.

A recently-created podcast called “Potential to Be Amazing,” featuring Jim Sabak, OFM, and the principal of The Franciscan School in Raleigh, North Carolina, can be found on Spotify and iTunes. As part of another communications initiative, Jim, guardian of St. Francis Friary, and the other two friars at the parish – Steve Kluge OFM, and Steve Patti, OFM, pastor – offer daily reflections that are posted on the parish’s Facebook page.

The cover of Kevin Mackin’s latest book. (Graphic courtesy of West Bow Press)

► A new book by Kevin Mackin, OFM, titled “Christian Unity – The Next Step ‘That They May All Be One,’” was released last month by WestBow Press. Kevin, who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, writes that the time is ripe for more real-world Christian collaboration and service, and for further internal reform and a third ecumenical council. Other books written in recent years by Kevin, the former president of Siena and Mount Saint Mary colleges, include “A Spirituality for Sunday People,” “Integrity: Living God’s Word,” “Enjoying God’s Gifts,” and “Get Thee Behind Me, Satan: Rejecting Evil.” All of the books can be purchased from online booksellers, including Amazon.com. Kevin also shares reflections on his blog, “A Franciscan Journey.”

► During an interview with New York radio station 104.3 FM several days before Easter, Christopher Keenan, OFM, provided an uplifting 10-minute meditation about the ways to make a difference simply by staying at home and caring for the people with whom we are quarantining. “It’s so important for all of us to realize the gift that we are and the profound impact that we have on one another in the situation that we’re in,” Chris said. “That might be the silver lining in all of this. It’s not about me – it’s about us, as a family, as a city, as a country, as a citizen of the world. During the day, try to share some feedback with the other people that you’re living with during this situation. What is it about you that I am most grateful for today? What is a characteristic of your personality, of your goodness, that I’m grateful for?”

Cidouane Joseph, OFM

► Prayers are being asked for Cidouane Joseph, OFM, who has been in Haiti with family members since March. Due to travel restrictions related to the pandemic, Cid, who is unable to return to Hartford, Connecticut, where he is stationed, had gone to Haiti with the expectation of returning to the United States with his sister and niece, the latter who was scheduled to have surgery in Boston. Cid is expected to be able to return to the U.S. in June, according to Tom Gallagher, OFM, pastor of St. Patrick-St. Anthony in Hartford, who notified his community about Cid’s situation through the parish’s May 8 e-newsletter. Cid will have been in Haiti for three months.

A letter by Brian Jordan, OFM, was published in the New York Daily News on April 10 that described the power of the Cross and the intervention of a courageous judge. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, described the piece – titled “a Good Friday thank you to a late federal judge” – as a “story of faith and justice in action.”

► The most recent columns by Daniel Horan, OFM, in National Catholic Reporter are related to the coronavirus pandemic and the illness, chaos, and suffering that people are experiencing around the world. His April 15 column was titled “As the suffering of many weighs on me, I’m learning to pray again,” and his April 29 column was called “We are suffering a crisis of imagination in the church and world.”

Gerald Dolan, OFM

► The Province’s Facebook announcement on April 22 of the death of Gerald Dolan, OFM, who died from COVID-19, received a significant amount of attention from people around the world, many of whom had never met Gerald but wanted to express their condolences over the death of this Franciscan friar and coronavirus victim. As of May 11, the post on the Province’s Facebook page had received more than 1,000 comments.

David Convertino, OFM, executive director of the HNP Office of Development, reports that he and his staff have been working on a variety of initiatives, including sending food vouchers to those who qualify for the Franciscan Relief Fund. The Development Office has been busy sorting through thousands of pieces of mail that have been received in recent weeks, and David has been navigating through the rescheduling of 2020 events – including the St. Francis Breadline anniversary celebration that had been planned for May, and the Night of Stars fundraiser which is usually scheduled for autumn. For Mother’s Day, David and his staff got creative and offered a selection of e-cards. Information about the work of the Development Office can be found on the FriarWorks website.

► The videos produced by Casey Cole, OFM, are being watched in many places around the world. The Franciscans of Australia recently posted Casey’s video titled “Saving a Dying, Shrinking Church” on its Facebook page.  On May 6, the Poor Cares of Chesterfield, New Jersey, shared Casey’s video, “What’s Next? No One Knows,” on their Facebook page.

► On April 24, Ramadan greetings were distributed to the St. Bonaventure University community. The message was co-written by Michael Calabria, OFM, director of the SBU Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, and Dennis DePerro, president of SBU.

► John Anglin, OFM, of St. Petersburg, Florida, reflected recently about the lessons that can be learned during the less busy life practicing safer-at-home measures. He wrote a piece for his blog, View from My Window, titled “What the Pandemic Is Teaching Us.”

► Topics planned for upcoming issues of the HNP Today newsletter include:

  •  Laudato Si’ Week
  •  Profile of golden jubilarian Thomas Donovan, OFM
  •  Elementary school life during the pandemic

The next newsletter issue is scheduled for distribution on June 10.

 — Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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